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> South Island, New Zealand, Driving or flying?
post Aug 11 2008, 03:08 PM
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I am planning a vacation to New Zealand for next February 2009. I am planning to spend 12-14 nights in New Zealand and most of the time in south island. I am thinking about flying from Auckland to Christchurch and starting my trip from there..I have many places I would like to seem based on recommendations from friends, for example: Akarao, Kaikoura, Te Anau, Queenstown, Milford Sound, Wanaka and Fox Galcier. I am not sure what would be the best way to go aboout this trip..should I hire a car in Christchurch and drive to Akaroa and Kaikoura and then fly to Queenstown and hire a car there again and drive to Milford Sound, Te Anau and Fox Galcier? Or should I just hire a car and drive everywhere...
Also, do you have any recommendation for inexpensive, but nice and safe hotels/ bed and breakfast places in these locations that I would like to visit?
Do you recommend to drive to Milford Sound from Queenstown or take a tour bus? How are the roads there?
Thanks so much for your help!
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post Aug 11 2008, 05:23 PM
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Its horses for courses- what do YOU like doing (12 days is a flying visit) and depends on how much you want to cram.


I'd fly Auckland to Wellington, get the ferry over to Picton (great views entering the Marlboro Sounds),catch the Trans Coastal railway down to Kaikoura, see the whales, jump back on the train to Christchurch- hire a car from Christchurch, the highway (through Geraldine is gorgeous) to Mt Cook, use the car all the way through Te Anau, drive down to Milford (Homer tunnel is just great), I'd have Queenstown as the last stop and then catch a flight out to wherever (Auckland, Wellington etc)

Places to stay, if you like B&B's or homestays, are second to none in NZ- you won't find a more friendly place

The NZ B&B guide (the black book) is a great place to start for accomodation of this sort

Driving is a great way to get round NZ as it isnt that big and you can chose when you want to stop and what you want to see

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post Aug 12 2008, 02:12 AM
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Agree. It depends what YOU want and how you prefer to travel. Good ideas so far but I think with only 12-14 days you'll be packing it in, which is no problem just that you may have to miss something, OR get less out of a place you otherwise could've capitalised on.

Totally agree with the crossing of the Marlborough Sounds as part of the itinerary and taking the train down through Kaikoura. That will still take away from your timeframe though so you'll need to make it up somewhere else. You could always take a car from Christchurch and round up Kaikoura and Akaroa before heading through the Mackenzie Country, through the great lakes (inc. Pukaki and Mt Cook), down through Wanaka and in to Queenstown. This will definitely add a couple of days to your itinerary but you'll get a hell of a lot of spectacular and refreshingly unspoiled scenery out of it.

Is it worth the driving from Queenstown to Milford? Hell yes. The Milford road is one of the most scenically amazing drives in the world. Drive it, don't bus it - if you wan't your freedom that is. If you're lacking the time though, flying from Queenstown over the Humboldts, the Divide and the Hollyford Face is nothing short of stunning. Either way you'll get something very valuable from the experience.

This creates another hurdle though as we now need to get you up the west coast for the Glaciers. The drive from Queenstown to Haast passes through some stunning alpine scenery.

Again, it's tricky to advise without knowing what sort of thing floats your boat. I reckon you could get a lot out of 12-14 days. It's just a case of what you want most out of the experience. Can you shed any more light? This will help us to help more..


Living on a string of one-way tickets - currently kicking about in: southern Cambodia
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